Diwali and New Year’s celebrations are the crowning festivals in the annual Hindu calendar. Hundreds of thousands of Hindus in India and abroad celebrate these festivals by doing darshan of the deities in mandirs, offering prayers, performing rituals and with social visits to relatives and friends.
Diwali marks the end of the year and the start of the new, with the rituals for an auspicious beginning for the year being performed at the mandir. 'Chopda Pujan', an annual ritual to sanctify accounting books is also traditionally performed on this day.
This year, HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj was in Ahmedabad on Diwali, for the first time in twenty years. Diwali began at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Ahmedabad with the early morning Mangla Arti, followed by abhishek of Bhagwan Swaminarayan performed by senior sadhus. The Shangar arti was followed by the peaceful shlokas of the Mahapuja for Chopda Pujan echoing through the mandir. Thakorji was worshipped by senior sadhus during the mahapuja. Prayers were offered for satsang, peace, health, happiness and prosperity. The Chopda Pujan Arti was performed by sadhus and devotees. The final ritual of showering sanctified rose petals, rice grains and abil-gulal on devotees' accounting books was then performed by senior sadhus.
HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj arrived and showered rose petals on the accounting books. Swamishri was honored with a garland by senior sadhus. Swamishri then proceeded towards Thakorji’s darshan in the mandir, after which he also gave darshan to the gathered sadhus and devotees. He held a lit lamp in his hands, as a symbol of participation in the Arti performed earlier. The lamp in his hands also signified for devotees that the guru banishes darkness, and leads his followers from darkness towards light.
This festival was celebrated by thousands of devotees across the world, with prayers to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and the Guru parampara.